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Afghanistan's opium production (3400 tons in 2002) increased more than 15-fold since 1979;
The opium economy developed in Afghanistan because of:
Lack of effective government administration until the recent past;
Degradation of agriculture and most economic infrastructure due to twenty years of war;
A war economy and related black marketeering.
Through the 1980s and 1990s several competing factions financed their war efforts with opium revenue. Since most of the opium producing provinces came under Taliban control after 1996, the Taliban reaped the largest gains from the opium economy.
Over three-quarters the heroin sold in Europe, and virtually all of it in Russia, originates in Afghanistan
In 2000, the Taliban banned opium production in Afghanistan, as it became illegal to grow poppies. Any farmer caught cultivating the cash crop would be severely punished--probably by death. By the middle of 2001, there was basically no opium produced in Afghanistan, though that nation usually led the world in production of the drug. However, since the U.S. led invasion, the poppy fields are growing again and the opium trade is flourishing as never before. Apparently, Bush's idea of a 'War on Terror' is making the world safe for the narcotics trade.
The Taliban had relied on opium sales to finance their operations until July 2000. It was then that the regime's leader Mullah Mohammed Omar issued a ban on the drug trade, because he claimed that it conflicted with Islamic law. However, it is more likely that the move was made to boost the slumping prices of opium across Europe, after Afghanistan had produced an all-time high of 4,600 tons in 1999. Less than a year later, a U.N. delegation visited the areas of the country where poppies were traditionally grown and found nothing. The head of the U.N. Drug Control Program said: "There are no poppies. It's amazing."
Originally posted by The Vagabond
No, you're absolutely correct, ThichHeaded, I never intended to in any way deny that Afghanistan is well on its way to becoming a narco state, either because because of failure on the part of the United States and the Afghani government we have supported, or worse yet, given the history of our CIA, quite possible because of US complicity in the drug trade.
My only contention here is that whatever source has given swimmer the notion that Russia destroyed the opium trade in Afghanistan is likely dealing in propaganda. Rather than a "good Russia, evil US" situation, we are looking at something more along the lines of Russia creating the conditions for something bad to happen, and the United States picking up that ball running with it. I've learned to accept the fact that the world is a dirty place. I have not yet learned how to deal with people who insist that they can live in it and keep their hands clean.
[edit on by The Vagabond]